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63 Things We Bet You Didn’t Know About L.A.

August 23, 2016

So, you think you know everything there is to know about L.A., huh? Even for the most experienced Angeleno, Los Angeles offers up history that most people don’t know about, as well as little details you might not ever think about. We rounded up the top 63 things that might surprise you about this great city.

  1. Contrary to popular belief, Los Angeles is NOT a desert.
  2. The historic Capitol Records Building was the first circular office tower.
  3. LA’s economy as a city is larger than 46 of the 50 states in the U.S.
  4. LAX was used as a general aviation field in 1928 and during World War II. It officially opened as a commercial airline site in 1946.
  5. Los Angeles is home to the biggest boulder ever transported – a 340 ton granite rock that calls LACMA home. It took 11 days to move it just 85 miles
  6. Los Angeles is the entrepreneurial capital of the world with around 200,000 small businesses
  7. Marina Del Rey is the largest man-made boat harbor
  8. The Watts Towers were built by immigrant Simon Rodia over 33 years
  9. LAX is the 2nd busiest airport in the U.S. behind Atlanta’s Hartsfield Jackson. It is the 4th busiest airport in the world
  10. 140 nationalities call Los Angeles home
  11. Los Angeles metro area has a population of over 12 million people
  12. In 1982 oil was found near what is now Dodger Stadium
  13. The Chateau Marmont Hotel was built to be earthquake proof and has survived every major earthquake since being built
  14. LA is home to the largest Thai population outside of Thailand
  15. When the walls of the Frank Gehry designed Walt Disney Concert Hall were first put up, the steel walls reflected such an intense amount of light that surrounding sidewalks hit temperatures of 140 degrees fahrenheit
  16. While digging a garage for the LA County Museum of Art, they hit a skeleton of an adult mammoth
  17. There are more than 88 cities within the county limits
  18. Each day, over 100 movie and tv crews are actively filming
  19. LA has the most actors doubling as waiters and waitresses. Due to the entertainment industry, there are more actors, actresses, musicians, writers, etc living in L.A. than any other city
  20. If LA were to become a state, it would have the fifth largest population in the U.S.
  21. Los Angeles has the most museums in the country at 300
  22. Los Angeles has the country’s third largest oil field
  23. The longest stretch of the Berlin Wall is not in Germany. It actually sits in front of the Variety Building on Wilshire at 5900 Wilshire
  24. Under Downtown exists underground pedestrian tunnels built during Prohibition times to shuttle booze back and forth
  25. Los Angeles has more than 50 active urban oil fields
  26. Before it was the Beverly Center, the space was actually two family-run amusement parks with a ferris wheel, merry-go-round and a mini-roller coaster among other attractions
  27. The Beverly Center’s unusual shape and lack of street frontage is due to its location on top of an oil field. Even today, the mall property contains a cluster of oil wells which are active to this date
  28. There is an active oil field under the city of Beverly Hills. The oil field was discovered in 1900 and runs from West to East from Santa Monica Blvd. to La Cienega Blvd. and North to South from Olympic Blvd. to Pico Blvd. It ranks 39th in size among California’s oil fields. There are around 11 million barrels of oil in reserve here.
  29. Beverly Hills High School produces oil. Beverly Hills High School produces about 400 barrels a day of oil on its property, earning around $300,000 a year in revenue.
  30. The City of Sherman Oaks was named for a wealthy land developer. Sherman Oaks was named for wealthy land-developer General Moses Hazeltine Sherman, who owned all of the land. He once had a big house at the intersection of Ventura Blvd. and Sepulveda Blvd.
  31. The Streets In Porter Ranch Are Named For Golf Courses Around The Country. All of the streets in the Porter Ranch neighborhood North of Rinaldi are named for golf courses around the country (Doral, Braemar, Merion, Pala Mesa, Pine Valley, etc.)
  32. La Brea actually means ‘The Tar’ and is named for the tar pits in the area
  33. Los Angeles’ Mulholland Drive is named after a prominent L.A. figure. Mulholland Drive is named after William Mulholland who was the head of the LA Dept. of Water and Power in the early 20th Century. He was eventually responsible for bringing the vital resource to Los Angeles from the Owens Valley.
  34. Thomas Edison was a threat to the L.A. film industry. One of the reasons the film industry settled in Los Angeles was to get as far away from Thomas Edison as possible. Edison helped create The Trust in 1909, which was comprised of dominant producers, distributors and manufacturers who were intent on monopolizing the industry.
  35. The Hollywood Sign was put up to promote a housing development. The Hollywood sign was created in 1923, but read “Hollywood Land.” It purpose was to advertise a new housing development in the hills. Things took off in time and it became synonymous with the film industry.
  36. The Shirley Temple drink was actually created in LA’s Brown Derby Restaurant
  37. Powers Place, southwest of Downtown Los Angeles, is the city’s shortest street at just 13 feet
  38. Los Angeles is so big that it has the most phone area codes. Los Angeles holds more area codes than any other city in the U.S. including 213, 310, 818, 323, 424, 562, 626, 747, and more. There are more being added, too.
  39. The iconic Beverly Wilshire Hotel was once the site of a racetrack speedway! The Beverly Hills Speedway, a 1.25 mile race track used to sit on the site of where the Beverly Wilshire Hotel stands today. It was bounded by Wilshire Blvd South Beverly Drive, Olympic Blvd. and Lasky Drive in Beverly Hills. It only operated for 4 years from 1920 to 1924
  40. The iconic Beverly Wilshire Hotel was once the site of a racetrack speedway! The Beverly Hills Speedway, a 1.25 mile race track used to sit on the site of where the Beverly Wilshire Hotel stands today. It was bounded by Wilshire Blvd South Beverly Drive, Olympic Blvd. and Lasky Drive in Beverly Hills. It only operated for 4 years from 1920 to 1924
  41. Over 40 million people visit L.A. annually (you know, a tourist). Los Angeles is one of the most tourist-friendly cities in the world. Millions of people visit to see LA’s top attractions, like the Walk of Fame, The Hollywood Sign and other areas.
  42. Chavez Ravine was not named for Cesar Chavez.  Contrary to popular belief, Chavez Ravine was actually named for its landowner Julian Chavez.
  43. Gregory Way and Peck Drive in Beverly Hills do not pay homage to actor Gregory Peck
  44. Los Angeles was actually part of Mexico before it was annexed by the U.S. in 1848 during the Mexican American War
  45. The 90 Freeway was once called the Richard Nixon Freeway
  46. In 2006, a new tar pit was discovered. In 2006, a new tar pit was discovered on Wilshire which held the remains of prehistoric creatures like American lions, giant sloths, a mammoth and saber-toothed cats
  47. Griffith Park was gifted to LA city by a man named Griffith J. Griffith
  48. According to the U.S. Census, Los Angeles is the most densely populated area in the country, even beating New York City
  49. According to multiple studies, Los Angeles has the worst traffic in the world. San Francisco and Honolulu come in 2nd and 3rd place
  50. L.A. and San Francisco become 2.5 inches closer every year due to their placement on opposite sides of the San Andreas Fault Line
  51. L.A. has more automobiles than people with vehicles taking up about 24% of the city’s total ground area
  52. It’s illegal to lick a toad, have more than one child under the age of two in a bathtub at the same time and cry on the witness stand in Los Angeles
  53. LA’s coroner’s office has a gift shop
  54. LA’s original zoo location lies in the heart of Griffith Park. The park was brought over from Lincoln Heights in 1912. It’s in ruins today, but you can walk through it. It’s quite interesting, and a great place for photos.
  55. La Cienega Blvd. actually means “swamp” and was named this because the area was once one
  56. There are roughly 135 different languages spoken in L.A.
  57. The Hollywood Walk Of Fame has over 2500 stars. It attracts over 10 million people per year
  58. Los Angeles once had a much longer name. When Los Angeles was founded, its full name was “El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora Reina de los Angeles sobre el Rio Porciuncula” which translates to “The town of our lady queen of the angels on the Porciuncula River.”
  59. Los Angeles has the largest system of roadways in the country with more than 7000 miles in total
  60. Los Angeles fills more multimedia positions than NY and Silicon Valley combined
  61. Evergreen Cemetery is LA’s oldest one. It is the resting place for mayors, war veterans, actors, musicians, religious leaders and more
  62. The Getty Museum clears brush around their property the old fashioned way: by using goats
  63. Sepulveda Boulevard Is L.A.’s longest street. Sepulveda Blvd. is Los Angeles’ longest street at 40 miles stretching from Long Beach in the south to Mission Hills in the San Fernando Valley.